The Grapes of Wrath, Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, and Slaughter-House Five have all been challenged or banned at one time or another. Banned Books Week (Sept. 30 to Oct. 6) seeks to generate awareness about past and ongoing censorship in all forms.
Did you know that John Steinbeck’s classic The Grapes of Wrath was burned by the East St. Louis public library in 1939? How about the story last year that schools in Republic, MO banned the teaching of Slaughter-house Five?
Books have a long history of being challenged for a myriad of reasons: whether it is because of language used, depictions of sexuality, or going against the teachings of a religion. Banned Books week (Sept. 30 to Oct. 6) is a time to promote everyone’s freedom to read. Censorship, whether it be in the dystopia of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 or the book-burning of Nazi Germany, denies the right of individuals to seek out new information and evaluate the ideas on their own merit.
Reading is a partnership between readers and the book and should not be dictated by others. We want to know what you think, do people have a right to dictate what others can read? Are the classics more protected from censorship than new books, like John Green’s Looking for Alaska? Tell us on our blog in the comments area.